Polish outrage over Spiegel Hitler story

Spiegel Online apparently has opened a giant can of worms on itself with a recent cover story on who in Europe might have helped Hitler outside of Germany.

The feature describes how foreigners aided the Germans during World War II in the killing of 6 million Jews. Some of the accomplices — who represented a small minority in each of their countries — were forced into their roles, others denounced Jews in exchange for money. And some shared the Nazi’s anti-Semitic beliefs and joined in out of conviction.

Polish reactions to the story are titled “A Wave of Outrage”

“The article confirms the worst fears about the transformation taking shape in German thinking about World War II,” writes the conservative journalist Piotr Semka. For years, many Poles have seen a gradual change in the way Germany sees its history — a transformation, they say, to a victim mentality.

I agree with this but I would say German sentiment shifted to a victim mentality very quickly after the war, if not during the final stages. I suspect the Poles were less likely to have seen it before the wall came down so it seems gradual to them. I also disagree, however, with Spiegel’s assertion in the original story that “the collusion of other European countries in the Holocaust has received surprisingly little attention until recently”. History is rich in detail of the complicity of Ukranian camp guards under Nazi rule, for example, and the strife between Catholics and Jews in Poland that long pre-dated the German invasion.

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